For my Friends, Anything: Temer’s Presidential Dilemma in Brazil


By Dr. Sean Burges, Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

To download a PDF version of this article, click here.

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ANCLAS academics comment on the current political climate in Brazil

The political crisis in Brazil involving President Dilma Rousseff is attracting worldwide attention. SPIR academics have been active in the media commenting on the developing story. See their contributions below.

This page will be regularly updated with new interviews as they come to hand.

Dr Sean Burges
Deputy Director, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies


Dr Tracy Fenwick
Senior Associate, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies

Dr Fabrício H. Chagas Bastos
Lecturer, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies

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“And They all Came Tumbling Down: Brazil’s Spiralling Political Corruption Scandal”


On March 12,  ANCLAS Deputy Director Dr Sean Burges and ANCLAS Associate Dr Fabrício H. Chagas Bastos published “And They all Came Tumbling Down: Brazil’s Spiralling Political Corruption Scandal” in the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Following tense protests on 13 March, Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula was named current President Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff, potentially giving him immunity against  corruption allegations. This story took another twist when Lula’s appointment was suspended by Judge Itagiba Catta Preta Neto.

You can read the full article here:

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ANCLAS book launch


Avoiding Governors:
Federalism, Democracy, and Poverty Alleviation in Brazil and Argentina

Book launch co-hosted by the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) and the Australian Centre for Federalism (ACF)

We are pleased to announce that the book will be launched by Dr Mariana Llanos, ANCLAS visiting fellow.

Date & time

4–5pm 10 March 2016


ANU Centre for European Studies, The Nye Hughes Room – 67C Liversidge Street, ANU

With the goal of showing the effect of domestic factors on the performance of poverty alleviation strategies in Latin America, Tracy Beck Fenwick explores the origins and rise of conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs) in the region, and then traces the politics and evolution of specific programs in Brazil and Argentina.

About the author

Tracy Beck Fenwick is a lecturer in the School of Politics in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, and she is the Director, of the Australian Centre for Federalism (SPIR). She was previously a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies at ANU, and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan. She completed her doctorate specializing in Comparative Politics at the University of Oxford, U.K. in 2009 (St. Anthony’s College). She holds a M.A. in Comparative Politics (Developed) and a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Economics from McGill University, Canada.

Dr Mariana Llanos is a Lead Research Fellow at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, Germany. Her research focuses on comparative political institutions in Latin America, particularly, on the countries of the Southern Cone. She has published numerous articles on legislative, judicial, and presidential politics.

The launch will be followed by light food and beverages.

For catering purposes only please RSVP at Eventbrite by COB Monday 7th March.

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Argentina’s Day of Democracy: General Elections of 2015

Argentina’s Day of Democracy: General Elections of 2015

By Tracy Beck Fenwick, Director of the Australian Centre for Federalism and Senior Associate of the Australian National Centre for Latin America (ANU)

On Sunday the 25th of October Argentines voted in their 8th general election since the country’s return to democracy in 1983. From a regional perspective, it was truly a day of democracy and it was dramatic.
Since the early 2000s, Argentina has been governed by Mr. and Mrs. Kirchner’s brand of Peronism that morphed into Kirchnerismo. Despite Néstor’s death, his succeeding wife’s scandals, falling popularity ratings and popular mobilizations, the Front for Victory (FPV-PJ) appeared unstoppable. At least that was what we all thought when President Cristina Kirchner endorsed presidential candidate Daniel Scioli, a former governor of Buenos Aires and vice-president as her successor. But like many recent elections from around the globe, how wrong we were, at least for this first round.
For Sunday’s election, Mauricio Macri, the former Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires from PRO (Republican Proposal), was primarily competing against Scioli and Sergio Massa, a former Kirchnerite now running under his own label. Macri was supported by the opposition based Union Civic Radicals (UCR), and the left-of-center ARI (Egalitarian Republic) of Elisa Carrío. Even though Argentina has an array of active opposition parties, since 1983, only the Peronists (PJ) have both won and completed its terms in office. The UCR tried twice and failed in 1983 and in 1999. Therefore, the PJ is widely believed to be the only party that can successfully govern Argentina. Operating as a powerful party machine, the PJ is ingenious in its ability to morph into whatever ideology and platform is determined as the most viable for reaching the popular vote.

At 6 pm after the polling stations closed this Sunday both exit polls and electoral predictions expected a 40% Scioli lead, followed by 30% for Macri, then Massa. The public debate was about whether or not it would be a straight victory, or, require a ballotage, a second round of voting. After the official results however failed to appear, at around 10 pm Scioli delivered what seemed to be a victory speech that hinted of second round campaigning. With the true vigour of a national popular movement’s leader he incited Peron, the poor, the middle-class, and national industry. He then reminded the voter they were choosing between two projects. The first, his own, was framed in past Peronist glories, yet purported to be guaranteeing the future. The second, the opposition’s, was heavily framed in their past failures. He warned of a possible devaluation, the end of family benefits, and privatizations. Macri also delivered a speech shortly thereafter that sounded optimistic of a possible second round of voting.

But citizens kept wondering by midnight local time as candidates and parties from around the country celebrated victories and accepted defeats where were the official results? Nothing. Screens blank. The gubernatorial results for the Province of Buenos Aires which represents 38% of the electorate—nothing. Cristina was visibly absent, as was her chosen candidate for the province, Aníbal Fernandez. Panic set in on the live news channels, within the opposition, and on social media. Was this democracy unraveling?

Shortly after midnight the Minister of Justice and the Director of the Electoral Office appeared in a press conference saying that in two minutes they would deliver the provisional results long after most party headquarters had emptied. It was incredible. The official results showed Scioli was leading by over three percentage points and Maria Eugenia Vidal, a 42 years old well educated and experienced female bureaucrat from the right-of-centre PRO had won the gubernatorial election of the Province of Buenos Aires. This victory overturns decades of patronage-based control in some of the province’s core municipalities. For the past 28 years Buenos Aires has been governed by a Peronist male in a country that simply cannot be governed without the political control of this province.

As election night closed and live commentary continued into the early hours of Monday morning, Scioli gained a few percentage points. He ended up with a 36.35% lead versus Macri’s 34.78%. Although the 6 hours of absent electoral results signaled to those watching another serious state mishap, democracy won. It also claimed some historic firsts, including the first second round of voting scheduled for November 24th. Thus now we can speculate: If Maurcio Macri has a real chance at winning the Presidency, and his coalition controls the most powerful province in the country that is now officially under the leadership of a relatively young woman, perhaps an opposition coalition will not only win, but finish its term in office for the first time in 32 years of Peronist control. Nothing in a democratic state is impossible.

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ANCLAS Senior Associate Dr Rolando Ochoa published in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald

Dr Rolando Ochoa, ANCLAS Senior Associate published in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, The Age and The Brisbane Times about Joaquín “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman escape last Saturday night from the maximum security prison in Mexico.

You can read the story here


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ANCLAS book launch – Australia and Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities in the New Millennium

The Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies presents the book launch of:

Australia and Latin America
Challenges and Opportunities in the New Millennium

Edited by Barry Carr and John Minns

Published August 2014

3:00pm Wednesday 29 April
L.J Hume Centre, Copland Building (24) 1st Floor, Room 1171, ANU

This is a good time to reflect on opportunities and challenges for Australia in Latin America. Impressive economic growth and opportunities for trade and investment have made Latin America a dynamic area for Australia and the Asia Pacific region. A growing Latin American population, Australia’s attractiveness to Latin American students, a fascination with the cultural vibrancy of the Americas and an awareness of Latin America’s increasingly independent stance in politics and economic diplomacy, have all contributed to raising the region’s profile. This collection of essays provides the first substantial introduction to Australia’s evolving engagement with Latin America, identifying current trends and opportunities, and making suggestions about how relationships in trade, investment, foreign aid, education, culture and the media could be strengthened.

About the editors

Barry Carr is Adjunct Professor at The Australian National University for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) at the ANU and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University. A historian of modern Latin America, he has researched and published widely on the twentieth century development of Mexico and Cuba. His most recent book is (with Jeffrey Webber) The Latin American Left: Cracks in the Empire (2013).

John Minns is the Director of the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies and Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations at The Australian National University.

The launch will be followed by light food and beverages. Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

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